In 1867 he received his degree in civil engineering from Lawrence Scientific School in Cambridge. From 1879 to 1884, he taught classes in botany at the Bussey Institute.
Faxon was knowledgeable in regards to the flora of New England, and in 1882 joined the staff at the Arnold Arboretum. Here he took charge of development of the herbarium and library. He worked closely with Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927), the director of the arboretum.
Faxon created 744 plates for illustration of Sargent's "Silva of North America". In addition to these drawings, he provided the illustrative work for the following publications by Sargent:
"Manual of the Trees of North America (exclusive of Mexico)", (664 illustrations).
"Garden and Forest", (285 illustrations).
"Forest Flora of Japan", (1894).
"Trees and Shrubs: Illustrations of New Or Little Known Ligneous Plants", (1902–13).
The standard author abbreviation Faxon is used to indicate this individual as the author when citing a botanical name.
"Author Query for 'Faxon'". International Plant Names Index.
Works by Charles Edward Faxon at Project Gutenberg
Works by or about Charles Edward Faxon at Internet Archive
Harvard University Library, Papers of Charles Edward Faxon, 1882-1918
Works by or about Charles Edward Faxon in the Biodiversity Heritage Library